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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 15 - 21  > Cabinet approval rate shows cosmetic increase
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2019 May 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Cabinet approval rate shows cosmetic increase

May 17, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Abe Cabinet’s approval rate has gone up, according to opinion poll results recently released by newspapers and broadcasters. This may be because Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has succeeded in creating a positive public image of his Cabinet by taking advantage of the upbeat atmosphere associated with the imperial transition and the start of the new imperial era and by evading Diet discussions on controversial issues, including the planned consumption tax hike, the construction of a U.S. base in Okinawa, and the promotion of nuclear power generation.

The Cabinet approval rate increased in a postal mail survey conducted by Asahi Shimbun (April 27, 43%), and in telephone polls by Nikkei (May 13, 55%), Sankei Shimbun (May 14, 50.7%), Japan News Network (May 14, 57.4%), and NHK (May 14, 48%). However, it seems that most of these respondents did not give enthusiastic support. Asked why they back the Abe Cabinet, many said, “Because there is no good alternative”, or “Because I support the ruling block” (NHK poll).

The Nikkei survey found that 52% of the respondents were opposed to the consumption tax increase and 48% thought that the Constitution should not be changed. In the JNN survey, 87% did not feel that the economy is recovering. As shown in these survey responses, the general public is not necessarily supportive of the Abe government’s policies.

It is clear that many people are critical of and anxious about the stance of Abe government which is pushing forward with its plan to increase the consumption tax rate in October, sticking to the entry into force of a new constitution in 2020, bulldozing through the Henoko base project, and negotiating with the U.S. for a free trade agreement. PM Abe has yet to fully explain about his and his wife’s alleged involvement in the favoritism scandals concerning the “Moritomo” and “Kake” school corporations. The reported rise in the Cabinet approval rate is thus highly deceptive.

The Abe government is refusing to accept opposition parties’ request to hold meetings of the Budget Committees in both Houses probably to avoid running a risk of making a misstep in Diet deliberations before the House of Councilors election in July.

The Diet has the responsibility and authority to oversee the administration. The Budget Committees, which can discuss any kind of topic concerning national political issues, should thoroughly discuss pressingly important issues.
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